Shrinking budgets are putting the pinch on classrooms around the state. As districts struggle to make ends meet, the supplies districts used to supply are having to come from parents in teachers. In fact, the average teacher spends about $40 each month out of their own pocket for classroom supplies.
On Wednesday, Starbucks and the Gates Foundation kicked off a project to provide coffee drinkers with $10 gift certificates. The catch? They're only good at donorschoose.org, a program designed as a one-stop-shopping site to make it easier to give to classrooms across the country.
The projects on the website are submitted by individual classroom teachers. Some are as basic as the need for plastic coins to help teach math skills for a class at Captain Grey Early Learning Center in Pasco. At Seattle's Dunlap Elementary, one teacher is asking for costumes and dolls for a class of developmentally delayed pre-schoolers. The teacher says the money raised will help teach her students how to interact with their peers and help them practice fine motor skills like dressing and fastening a variety of fasteners (buttons, snaps, zippers, etc.). The teacher says the play sink in her classroom is 12-years old and recently lost its spout!
Another teacher at Seattle's Mount View Elementary is simply asking for a new pencil sharpener for her classroom.
The group behind DonorsChoose say that once a program reaches its fundraising goal, they will deliver the requested items to the school. Donors will receive photos of the project taking place, a thank you letter from the teacher and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent.
Those who go to the site can search for projects based on areas of interest (ie., history, technology, literacy), or by state, city, district or school.
To date, nearly $1 million has been raised in Washington alone.
About 100,000 gift cards will be given away at Starbucks throughout King County. The cards are being paid for by the Gates Foundation.